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Dr. Thomas Hart selected to direct ADA Foundation's Volpe Research Center

January 05, 2015

By Jean Williams

Dr. Hart
Gaithersburg, Md
. — Dr. Thomas C. Hart, a distinguished scientist with a long history of success as an academic, researcher and mentor, is the new director of the ADA Foundation Dr. Anthony Volpe Research Center.  

His tenure at the helm of VRC begins April 2.  

"Dr. Hart was the unanimous first choice of the search committee and brings a great deal of scientific and administrative experience to the position," said Dr. William Calnon, ADA past president and ADAF board member, who served as chair of the VRC Director Search Committee.  

Dr. Hart is a professor of periodontics and director of Craniofacial Population Sciences Research at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry. He earned a B.A. in biology from the University of Virginia and a D.D.S. degree from Emory University in Atlanta.  He later earned a Ph.D. in human genetics from Virginia Commonwealth University.

In addition to his substantial academic and research experience, Dr. Hart has clinical experience as a practicing dentist in one of the largest dental practices in North Carolina, located in Winston-Salem. He also has extensive experience working in the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research in the National Institutes of Health, where he served as chief of the Human Craniofacial Genetics section of NIDCR from 2003-10, and as clinical director of that same institute from 2003-08.

"One of his many strengths is his experience working with graduate students and fellows and serving as a mentor to promising young researchers as they seek funding and work to learn the skills necessary for advancement in science through publications and presentations," said Dr. Reneida Reyes, ADAF board president. "He has been successful in securing a number of NIH grants, either as sole investigator or as a collaborative investigator, and is the co-author or author of more than 150 scientific articles.

"The search committee believes that his experience in academics, his success in mentoring promising young researchers, his proven, ability to secure federal grant funding, and the many contributions he has made to the literature and to the educational programs within the dental community will serve us well as we move the ADAF/Dr. Anthony Volpe Research Center into a new era," Dr. Reyes added.

Dr. Hart also currently serves as the chair of the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs, and, according to Dr. Reyes, in that capacity Dr. Hart brings a great understanding of ways in which the resources of the ADA and the ADAF can be coordinated for the good of dentistry and for the dental patient population.